New projects still slow in the valley |

New projects still slow in the valley

NWS New Construction DT 4-17-12

EAGLE COUNTY – Eagle County’s construction industry is getting fairly busy again, with projects starting work up and down the valley.

Most of the action is in the town of Vail. Work started this week on a new gondola to replace the old VistaBahn chairlift out of Vail Village, and Lion Square Lodge in Lionshead has started work on extensive renovation project in its east and south buildings.

In addition to those projects, Vail Community Development Department Director George Ruther said the town is renovating the Vail Public Library and has started streetscape work on East Lionshead Circle and the bus stop at Concert Hall Plaza.

Between public and private projects, Ruther said the town has issued more than 100 building permits so far this year, for everything from new decks to new homes – there are currently eight single-family or duplex homes ready to start work.

There are several residential projects in Avon, too, but the most visible work this year will be done near the town’s main Interstate 70 interchange and along Swift Gulch Road.

The old Denny’s restaurant is being replaced by a Walgreen’s pharmacy near the interchange. On the north side of the interstate, the town is building a new transit facility that will replace the current town shops.

Jeff Schneider of the town’s engineering department said the transit facility is expected to break ground sometime in June. It will employ about 300 people and take about 18 months to complete.

Walgreen’s, on the other hand, should be finished in October or so.

Evans-Chaffee Construction of Avon is building the Walgreen’s, and is also the general contractor on the Vail Public Library renovation and a base area project at Cascade Village.

“There’s more work out there these days,” company co-owner Chris Evans said. “It’s all still relatively small – nobody’s doing anything of real size, and these are shorter-duration projects.”

Still, Evans said, his company and some of the valley’s bigger construction companies are pretty busy at the moment. But, he added, right now there’s not much on his company’s radar past the fall of this year.

Still, the construction environment today is better than a couple of years ago, when Evans’ company found itself bidding for the work on a cinder-block commercial building in Rifle.

“It’s improving, but I think most people are waiting on the next presidential election,” Evans said. “But we’re able to pick projects that are good for us.

“The market has corrected,” Evans added. “The contractors’ market has corrected, too. I think things will continue to slowly get better.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

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